A Myanmar military court has sentenced 11 years of jail to the US journalist Danny Fenster. Fenster is guilty of breaching the immigration law, encouraging dissent against the military, and unlawful association.
He is facing two more additional charges of terrorism and sedition. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. His trial for the new charges will start on 16th November. Fenster, a 37 years old US Journalist, worked as a managing editor at the online site Frontier Myanmar. He was detained at Yangon international airport in May. He is one of the dozens of other local journalists.
According to Frontier, Fenster worked for Myanmar Now, which has been an independent news site.
“The charges were all based on the allegation that he was working for banned media outlet Myanmar Now. Danny had resigned from Myanmar Now in July 2020 and joined Frontier the following month, so at the time of his arrest in May 2021, he had been working with Frontier for more than nine months,” said the news site.
“There is absolutely no basis to convict Danny of these charges.”
His sentencing on Friday is coming months after the arrest of a Japanese freelance journalist. He has charges of spreading fake news. Yuki Kitazumi was also one of the few foreign reporters in the country. As per Myanmar authorities, he has violated the law. They have released him due to Japan’s request.
The US has further presented the military government to release him. In a statement before the sentencing, the US state department commented that “the profoundly unjust nature of Danny’s detention is plain for all the world to see. The regime should take the prudent step of releasing him now”.
The US has not yet made any comment on the ruling. Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said that a travesty of justice from a Kangaroo court is also intending to intimidate all the remaining journalists working inside Myanmar.
Richard Horse, the senior advisor at Crisis Group Myanmar, has described the sentence as an outrageous one. Myanmar’s military leaders also seized power in February after suffering a massive defeat in an election.
At least 80 local journalists have been detained for their reporting. According to the APP, 50 of them are still in detention, and half of them are facing prosecution.